Making Art In/About/For Cities in Crisis
45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 3-6, 2014
Host: Susquehanna University
This session seeks to promote cross-disciplinary discussion of the roles
verbal and visual art might play in the 21st-century American city. On the
heels of the Great Recession, cities are undergoing massive
transformations, with some gaining new prominence by attracting
what Richard Florida calls “creative class” workers while others,
particularly in the industrial Midwest and overbuilt South and Southwest,
seem to be in irreversible decline. In collaboration with government and
business leaders, architects and urban designers are arranging the physical
environments of cities on the rise to further accelerate and intensify
economic growth. At the same time, writers and artists are flocking to
cities at the other end of the spectrum—Detroit, most prominently—creating
collectives and workshops reminiscent of the 1960s poetry and art scenes in
cities like Los Angeles and New York. Are we, as Sarah Schulman argues in
The Gentrification of the Mind, on the leading edge of another wave of
appropriation and displacement, with writers and artists merely leading the
way? Can anything save cities from capitalism’s tendency toward creative
destruction? Do they need to be saved? Is there a critique from art or
aesthetic theory that might be put in productive dialogue with economic and
cultural approaches to urban problems? When will the new generation of
urban artists break through and in which media?
Send 250-word abstracts with contact and affiliation information to Nate Mickelson,
firstname.lastname@example.org by September 30, 2013.
About the Conference:
The 2014 NeMLA convention continues the Association’s tradition of sharing
innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. This capitol
city set on the Susquehanna River is known for its vibrant restaurant
scene, historical sites, the National Civil War museum, and nearby Amish
Country, antique shops and Hershey Park. NeMLA has arranged low hotel
rates of $104-$124.
The 2014 event will include guest speakers, literary readings, professional
events, and workshops. A reading by George Saunders will open the
Convention. His 2013 collection of short fiction, The Tenth of
December, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as: “the best
book you’ll read this year.” NeMLA’s Keynote Speaker will be David Staller,
Producer and Director of Project Shaw. Mr. Staller presents monthly
script-in-hand performances of Bernard Shaw’s plays at the Players Club in
New York City.
Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA
session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar).
Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at
a creative session or participate in a roundtable.